In just two short days my little one, my Maycee, is going to turn 10. She’s been on this earth for almost a full decade. I remember as clearly as the last few minutes sitting in my chair the feeling of her soft baby skin next to mine as she wrapped her hand around my finger. Gazing into her tiny little face peeking out from underneath the swaddling blanket wrapped tightly around her fragile newborn body, I thought to myself, “This is the happiest moment of my life!” No matter how many people came to see me, my then husband’s presence, the hustle and bustle of the nurses in the hospital, the remnants of Happy New Year on the television, nothing compared to what I held in my arms. There was no denying the instantaneous bond that was real and unbreakable, forever and ever, amen.
When a foal is born, she typically stays with her mama for only 4 to 6 months. Think of this. How quickly does that time pass, and then the pony begins to find her independence, using mama only as a guide, able to function completely on her own before the first birthday.
We humans nurture our babies for well over a decade and furthermore into adulthood. With horses what takes a matter of months, for us humans is a matter of a lifetime.
Maycee has always been “my child” with no discredit to her dad; it’s just been this way– attached by an invisible cord that seemed to bind us whether we realized it was there or not. From out of the womb she was at her calmest when close to my heartbeat. I literally lived with her in a front pack carrier for almost 2 years; I could vacuum, cook, and make beds with her attached to me. Babysitters? Good luck. Only Gramma C, Auntie Sue, or her daycare mama, Mary Ann, worked out….the rest warranted lots of screaming. Climbing jungle gyms without a care in the world….not my child. “Hold my hand, Mommy. Come with me, Mommy.” Even to this day she doesn’t like to go down the hallway (in our house) alone-although I make her do it, so she brings along the cat, instead.
Maycee is a social kid, though, be not mistaken. She is very popular amongst her classmates and does really well in school-as long as I’m not around. In many ways it’s a good thing I have never been able to claim the title “SAHM” because I’d be in the classroom helping the teacher, baking cupcakes for holidays, making costumes for school performances, and in my kid’s business way too often. With my girl, this would be detrimental to her spreading her wings.
Last year, when diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder, Maycee didn’t want to leave the house to go to school. Had I allowed the Anxiety Monster to have his way, I’d have quit my job to home school my daughter, who said (in her anxious state) that this is what she wanted because she felt safe with just me, her, and our things. It took every ounce of emotional strength I had to counter-intuitively force her to do the opposite. It took months of therapy and diligence to get somewhat back to normal and to resume the process of weaning. It took mentally cutting the cord that binds and letting go.
**There is no hard and fast rule about the best time to wean foals, but the typical age range is 4 -6 months. Most importantly, a foal should have sufficient maturity to cope. Your foal is not ready to be weaned unless he: 1. Demonstrates some independence by venturing away from Mom. 2. Manages himself in a herd without his mother’s intervention.
My daughter is turning 10 in just two short days. During our last therapy session, the doctor said that Maycee needed help finding/defining her niche (horses). She also said I needed to give her more responsibility wherever possible (at home/at ranch) and to find ways for her to play outside of the school setting with friends (if only their parents would offer to help). Her behavioral issues getting stronger and more intense suggest this path. With the world consisting of just me and her for over half of her lifetime, I have to work extra hard to provide her with opportunities to be independent, to be herself, to discover what that looks like apart from me.
My foal is beginning to venture away, and she manages just fine in a herd without my intervention. It’s time for her to gallop freely to the other side of the field, to see what grows there. I believe it’s beautiful, and while she may not be able to see me watching in the distance, I’ll always be there.
So, here’s to the next decade. Here’s to amazing discoveries. Here’s to unconditional love that knows no boundaries and sets us free.
Happy Birthday, my sweet and precious Maycee.
*Thanks to Google for all of the horsey images, except the last.
**This information came from some web site….but I lost the url, sorry!